Chef. Vanessa Domínguez
The richness, refinement, and majesty of pre-Hispanic cuisine, alongside the aromatic variety of European products and spices, has led to our very own Mexican cuisine becoming renowned and acclaimed worldwide nowadays. However, this is the result of a painful conquest and innumerable armed conflicts that took place in our territory and now are part of our nation’s history.
Since pre-Hispanic times and up until today, Mexican cuisine has been through countless transformations. The Spaniards brought with them their customs, traditions, and products, both from Europe and from East, that thanks to the kindness of our land could perfectly adapt and fuse with our indigenous products.
The descriptions made by chroniclers such as Bernal Díaz del Castillo and Salvador Novo regarding the complexity of the culinary techniques utilized by pre-Hispanic cultures shine a light into the culinary wealth that was a part of our country long before the arrival of Spain.
However, the Conquest was not the only historical moment that contributed to the culinary wealth we have today; rather, there were many other historic moments that led Mexican cuisine to become the multicultural mosaic it is today.
The Colonial era, the Independence period, the Pastry War and other French interventions, the war against the United States, the Porfiriato, as well as the Reform and the Revolution, are just a few of the most significant historical periods and events.
From the Conquest, we obtained cinnamon, clove, black pepper, wheat, olives, cilantro; from the colonial period, all the creations made by nuns, such as moles, sweets, and comfits; from the Independence, the creation of dishes symbolizing Mexican patriotism, such as the Chiles en Nogada, made to commemorate the triumphant entrance of the Army of the Three Guarantees into the city of Puebla; from the many French interventions, refined baking, and confectionery techniques.
Moreover, with the Porfiriato came the establishment of coffeehouses and the construction of railroads, which led to the exchange of products between all states of the Republic, as well as the arrival of Chinese construction workers who brought with them their knowledge of Chinese cuisine and who had to adapt it to the products at hand in our country.
These are just a few examples out of many.
This is why nowadays it is crucial that we know a little bit about where our flavors and our appetites stem from, since getting to know our past is key to a richer and more delicious future. Let us treasure what is truly ours and become enraptured by the aromas, colors, and rhythms of our tasty culinary tradition.
- Conquista y Comida, Consecuencias del encuentro de dos mundos.
Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas UNAM 1996
Coord. Janet Long.
Rivas García Heriberto
- Cocina Prehispánica mexicana
- La Cultura del Maíz
- Recetario del maíz
Colección Cocina Indígena y Popular.
Comité Sin Maíz No Hay País-CONACULTA-Museo Culturas Populares.
- Sin maíz no hay país
Revista México Desconocido Dec.2001, number.298, year XXVI